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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's 118th commencement

Media Contact:

Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions
by media covering URI's commencement weekend:

First, the basics:
Graduate Commencement
Saturday, May 22, 2004, 1 p.m
Ryan Center
Kingston Campus
647 graduate students, 1 honorary degree recipient

Undergraduate Commencement
Sunday, May 23, 2004, 12:30 p.m.
Quadrangle (Ryan Center rain plan site)
Kingston Campus
2,039 undergraduates, five honorary degree recipients
1,251 of the undergraduates are Rhode Islanders!

1. Do I need a media pass?
Yes, for the undergraduate commencement on Sunday. The pass allows you access to podium guests, provides for seating at the press table, and access to any a/v hookups that may be needed for audio feed. To receive a pass, come to the News Bureau office, second floor, Davis Hall. In the event of rain, you can get the media pass in the media room of the Ryan Center.

2. Do I need a parking pass?
Yes, for the undergraduate commencement. To receive a pass, contact Nancy Gillespie at the News Bureau office, 874-2116. Graduate exercises take place on Saturday in the Ryan Center, where parking is ample.

3. What happens if it rains on Sunday?
The ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center.

4. Is there any place to use a phone during Sunday’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies? You are welcome to use facilities in our office, second floor, Davis Hall, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the event of rain, you can use phones located in the Ryan Center’s media room. We will even have snacks for members of the hard working Fourth Estate.

5. How many students are graduating this year?
2,039 undergraduate students (1,251 of whom are Rhode Islanders) will receive degrees. Potential August 2004 graduates who have one or two courses to complete are included in the count. Also, 647 graduate students will receive degrees.

6. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?
Matt Gallant will speak at the University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23 at 12:30 p.m. Gallant is the popular host of "The Planet's Funniest Animals," which airs daily on the Animal Planet cable channel and is shown around the world. Gallant graduated from URI in 1986.

7. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?
At the graduate ceremony: Forensic expert and URI alumnus Herbert Leon MacDonnell of Corning N.Y. will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
At the undergraduate ceremony: URI alumnus Matt Gallant, the commencement speaker, will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

Stephanie Danforth Chafee of McLean, Va. will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her work with the medically under-served.

URI alumnus Alfred J. Verrecchia, president and chief executive officer of Hasbro will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

U.S. Army Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, commander of the United Nations and combined Republic of Korea and U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The four star general is a URI alumnus.

8. Who is this year’s senior speaker?
Mary Earle, a music education student from Warwick, who plays the baritone saxophone and has been active in campus activities.

9. Can I speak to the commencement speaker or to the honorary degree recipients?
Yes. Contact Jan Wenzel at the News Bureau in advance for details at 401-874-2116.

10. Is there anything different about this year’s commencement?
Yes. Prior to commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 23, Gen. Leon LaPorte will speak at URI R.O.T.C. commissioning ceremonies at 9 a.m. and unveil a name of the soldier that was recently etched on one of three granite benches in front of Keaney Gymnasium. The benches serve as a memorial to men from the URI community who were killed during the Vietnam War.